There comes a time every year in mid-February when my husband and I glance up from our respective duties and say to each other: “Still okay to go to bed at 5 p.m. or should we wait until 6 tonight?” Then we think better of it, and, remembering that we have children who need to be fed and cared for, we settle for the rock-star bedtime of 7:15 instead. These are called the winter blues, or what I call the winter blahs, and they last from just past the holiday season until… I wanna say, forever?
I never remember that the winter blahs are coming until they’re inside me, until my mood is as volatile as my skin is sallow. One minute I’m patiently standing in line at the grocery store, and the next I’m composing a 12-minute internal monologue/lecture to deliver/shout to the lady who pushed her cart into the small of my back and just left it there. I mean, come on, she just left it there! There’s nothing that can give me the energy I need to accomplish the things that need to be done; by now, coffee has done the “reverse snap-back” and operates like a sedative. No matter how much chocolate cake I eat for dinner, it doesn’t do the trick anymore, and that’s just sad.
The fact remains that although it can be a slog, there are still things that need to get done during this dreary time of year: for instance, work and food preparation and everything else that you usually do with the sun shining, except right now the sun has abandoned us all.
Thankfully, a lot of people have great tips on how to survive the winter blues, and in this regard, I am no different. One suggestion I just thought of is to go live in a cave until April, underneath a hibernating bear. When the first buds are on the trees, feel free to emerge from your slumber and immediately run away from the bear that also just woke up, for she is hungry! Though my husband and I typically try to live in the moment, our main objective during the winter blahs is to endure. We may suffer, and we may complain, and we may emerge in April blanketed in dirty flannel and both sporting mountain-man beards, but we will endure.
One thing is, we mainline vitamin C; we eat so much citrus fruit that if you nick us, blood orange juice trickles out. We also try planning a trip for as close to the end of winter as possible, to give us hope that our skin will one day again be kissed by the sun’s warm rays. Failing that, we bake pies that are loaded with frozen summer fruit, just to remember what it was like when things were simpler. Failing that, we buy discounted sweaters in cheerful ice cream colours and think about wearing them. Failing that, we apply sunless tanning cream and stare listlessly out the window at all the slush.
I can say with certainty that just as you bottom out, hope is right around the corner, for the best and only good thing about the winter blues is that they are gone as quickly as they came. One day you’re thinking about giving it all up and living in a yurt, the next you see a crocus and it’s like the last three months never even happened! In exactly the same way that you entirely forget the pain of labour as soon as your baby is born! (A little bonus mid-winter humour to get you through the darkest days of winter. You’re welcome.)
Let’s chat again in the spring, shall we? I may be able to stay up past the evening news and engage in a full conversation by that point. Just maybe.